I hope you all don't get tired of me talking about missions. You know, missions are really only doing what God has called you to do, right where you are. You don't have to leave home, although some of us might be called to do that. It doesn't have to cost you anything, although for many of us it might cost everything.
And, after all, as Christians, our name implies that we are followers of Christ, seeking to live as He did. And what did He do with most of His time? Outreach. And included in that outreach, was inreach – serving those among His own people.
I've been thinking a lot this week about outreach, inreach, missions, whatever your choice term would be. And the one thing I've been pondering most, is how Jesus worked. His methods, His ways of reaching the people.
As I've been studying, I've been realizing that part of the reason why I don't see much if any success in my efforts of working to bring people to Him, is, for one, I don't really try hard enough, but mainly that I am not sincerely and earnestly following the methods of Christ in my work.
There's one quote that I always go to when I am thinking about this subject. It's in the book 'Ministry of healing'. On page 143, we read:
“Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "Follow Me."
--The Ministry of Healing, p. 143.
I want to go over these points, just really quickly...
He mingled with men as one who desired their good. It's one thing to just simply mingle with men or women. It's another thing entirely to mingle with them as one who desires their good. Isn't it? Why would that be though? If you mingle with people as one who desires their good, generally, it is because you have something good to offer them! It would be nice to desire people's good, even if you had nothing to offer them, but wouldn't do you or them any good. So, one thing I learned: We need to be around people. But we need to desire their good, their salvation, their health, you name it, and also do something about it.
Point number two: He showed His sympathy for them. There's not a whole lot of humanity, who haven't felt sympathy for someone or something, at least once in their life. But feeling sympathy, and showing sympathy, are two different things entirely. I have seen both at work, and only showing sympathy for people tends to do any good. The feelings don't amount to much.
So, the next thing I learned? Make sure I'm so sincere and close to Christ, that people can see the genuine sympathy I have for them.
Point number three: He ministered to their needs. This was without qualification. The ten lepers, out of whom only one were thankful. The servant who was part of the gang that came to arrest Him. You name it, He helped everyone. His sun shines on the evil and the good, both. And He knows who will choose Him, and who won't. We don't. But I don't want to get sidetracked too long on that!
He ministered to their needs. All of them. He healed them. He taught them a better way. He showed them the love they needed. He even provided the fish the disciples needed to sell so they could make some money. This topic alone could be drawn out for hours easily, but I think the point hit home hard enough to my heart. When I see people in need, do I help them? Especially if I am in the position where I can? I'm afraid I haven't. But that needs to change.
Point number four: He won their confidence. Now, just imagine someone you didn't know at all, started to want to be around you, desired your good, showed genuine sympathy to you, and then helped you with your needs! Would that win your confidence in that person? Especially if there was obviously nothing in it for them? I think it would win mine! This is where I start to get a little excited. Brothers and sisters, if we follow Christ's methods, lined out so far, we will have the confidence of the people! Which then leads to our last point form this paragraph:
He then bade them, 'Follow Me.'
When you have the confidence of the people, they will want to hear what you have to say. When you tell them there's a Savior who loves them, they will tend to believe you. And that's the beauty of this whole program! It works. That doesn't mean that everyone will become Christians, but it does mean that you will have success. After all, Christ's method alone will give true success.